We recovered the Jeep from the impound lot.
We gathered a bunch of information for taking the Jeep from the impound lot. I’ve had other cars impounded, for snow emergency or bad parking reasons, so I knew there’s a bunch of proof that it’s yours that’s required. I confirmed with the internet, from a cache of the impound lot’s site, since their site was broken this morning.
With documentation in hand, we packed everyone into the wife’s Jeep and set out to recover mine.
They didn’t need any information, as they had it all from the license plate. They needed to see my valid driver’s license, and that was all. She sent me to look at the Jeep before I accepted it, because if it was too wrecked, I could leave it for the insurance company to recover instead.
During the ride through the lot, I noticed a bunch of wrecked more than I thought possible cars. Like they’d been rescued partway through a purposeful smashing at a junk yard. He asked which was mine, so I told him. He said he thinks he saw it, and that “it doesn’t look that bad.” I was a little worried, but in the end it was fine.
The Jeep was dirty, and the front windows were open or missing (turned out to be open), but otherwise looked fine. I made a quick peek inside and it was filled with someone else’s junk. Our car seats were gone, but nothing else seemed out of place at first glance, and no damage seemed to happen. I noted that it seemed dirty, but otherwise fine. He commented that the many animal tracks in the dirt were probably the creatures in the impound lot. He asked if it started, so I bonked the remote start on the key fob, and it fired right up. I turned it off the same way, and we returned to the impound office.
I gave my wad of unnecessary documentation to the wife, and told her and the kids that I’d meet them at home. There might be some more paperwork, but then I’d be ready to go.
The other guy working the counter helped me finish. He saw that the Jeep had arrived later last night, so he waived the storage fee. They charged me for the tow, and gave me the papers I’d need to drive it out. He warned to clean the garbage out with sturdy gloves, as you never know what kind of pokey or cutting things might be in there.
The driver guy drove me back and waited for me to start it again. I moved some of the garbage from the driver’s footwell and seat, and got in. He took off, and I adjusted the seat and mirrors and followed out. A brief “which exit should I use,” and I was out of there.
Once home, we set about cleaning out the junk and assessing the damage. The Jeep itself is just dirty. No real damage visible. They’d clearly driven it places we don’t, because it hadn’t been this dirty since the snow stopped falling. There were myriad footprints, probably from the impound cats and raccoons, and in the mud on the fenders were some “brushings” or “scratches” that indicated they’d driven through some branches or leaves, as if passing through bushes.
The inside was missing the car seats, of course. And I recognized a pocket knife sleeve that had been in the map pocket, but couldn’t find the pocket knife. Everything else recalled as being in the car was found somewhere, and there was lots of junk not ours. Some clothes, shoes, bags, some food (like groceries) and water, and some apparent crack pipes and burnt foil of probably drug stuff. We don’t use, so it’s just what we’ve seen at TV or forever ago at parties. We took tons of photos and pulled everything out.
Inside, there was some damage recognized on the window trim. The trim above the passenger visor had been pulled away from its seating. I surmised they may have been attempting to disable the satellite stuff, which has buttons on the dash. They would have missed out, of course, because that’s not where the satellite stuff is, beyond those buttons. And also because they would have lost all of the radio stations that they reprogrammed.
We collected the stuff and took photos for maybe posting on the Neighborhoods site, in case any of it was taken from other nearby cars. The police called to follow up, and then stopped by. They told us most of that would be left in evidence for a few years and then discarded or auctioned off for pennies. He took the drug stuff, some car keys that we’d found, a Garmin GPS unit, and the couple bags that were in the back. He told us to keep or discard the rest as we saw fit.
I ran the Jeep to the car wash for a quick scrubbing, and then we locked it in the garage. We talked about disabling the garage door, so the creeps couldn’t come by, start the Jeep with the fob, and break into the garage to take it again. Instead, I added a Ring spotlight and camera to the garage, so we could keep an eye on the alley.
All things considered, I feel like we got very lucky. The best would have been if the theft had never happened. Second best would have been a neighborhood joy ride and return undamaged. This is in there in the top five outcomes, I’m sure. No important damage we can see, just the missing key fob. We’ll reach out to the dealer to see how to disable that and try to replace the locks in the doors, rendering that fob useless.